Make GREAT Selections with CHANNELS in Photoshop

CREATE POWERFUL AND PRECISE SELECTIONS WITH CHANNELS IN PHOTOSHOP! | Learn to use channels to your advantage in this Photoshop tutorial.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll look at the Channels panel and examine how to duplicate a channel to extract just the information we want from the image. We’ll use Levels and a cool brush tool trick to finalize our alpha channels and we’ll cover what an alpha channel is and how you can use them to create complex selections, save those selections and then convert those selections to masks on adjustment layers to localize effects and adjustments in your images. It’s a powerful tool to know how to use and can really save yourself with some difficult selections.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Open the 1M balloons shot and open the Channels panel
  2. Choose the channel that has the most contrast between fore and background
  3. Duplicate this layer and then open the Levels adjustment
  4. Adjust to make the artwork as close to black as I can get it without creating a crunchy edge. Use the Lasso tool and select any areas that need to be made solid black and fill with black
  5. Invert the colors of this channel so the area over the artwork is white. (the white areas are the areas that get selected.)
  6. Select the RGB composite layer and Cmd/Ctrl + click the new channel to load the selection and add a Hue/Saturation Layer set to: +180/-40/-5
  7. Cmd/Ctrl + click the layer mask that we applied to the Hue/Sat layer and add a Color Balance adjustment layer M:-25/0/+35 S:-25/-35/+20 H:-20/0/-10
  8. Jump over to the little girl and enter the Channels panel and choose the Green channel because she is darkest on this channel.
  9. Duplicate this channel and open the Levels adjustment and boost the whites and blacks until we have great contrast, but be careful not to destroy the edges.
  10. Once we have this use the Brush tool and set it to the Soft Light blend mode and paint over the darker areas with black and the white areas with white to boost out those brightness levels.
  11. Use the Brush tool at Normal blend mode to touch up any little edges that need to be cleaned up.
  12. Once you have her covered in solid black, invert the channel and tweak the remaining black background to clean it up.
  13. Turn on the RGB composite channel and check out the red overlay and paint with white or black to clear away fringing that you see as needed.
  14. Cmd/Ctrl + click that new channel and select the RGB composite channel and create a layer mask using this selection
  15. Now drag that girl over to the balloon layer and convert to a Smart Object. Shut the layer off by hitting the eyeball in the layers panel
  16. Then grab the quick selection tool and create a selection of the front half of the balloon and the green edge padding.
  17. Turn on the girl layer and add a layer mask while holding down Alt/Opt and use the Brush tool to clear away or return either balloon or girl as needed to complete the effect of her standing in the balloon.
  18. Create new 50% gray layer and set to Soft Light and burn in front side shadow for her and then copy the mask up to hide bits of shadow that should be hidden.
  19. Add a Curves adjustment layer and boost the black point and flatten the white point
  20. Add a LUT layer and use the TealOrangePlusContrast LUT
  21. Set both layers to 50% opacity.